Additional Budget Hearings to be Hosted by Democratic Legislators

In addition to the official public budget hearings scheduled by (and attended by) the full Joint Finance Committee, Democratic members have announced that they will host the following budget hearings:

Saturday, April 9, Oshkosh: UW-Oshkosh, Reeve Memorial Union, Room 202. 748 Algoma Blvd (10:30-4:30pm)
Saturday, April 9, Eau Claire: Chippewa Valley Technical College, Business Education Center, Room E1018. 620 Clairemont Avenue (10-4pm)
Friday, April 15, Baraboo: UW-Baraboo Gymnasium, 1006 Connie Road. (1-7pm)
Monday, April 18, Wausau: Northcentral Technical College, Heath Sciences Building, Room 1004. 1000 W. Campus Drive (1-7pm)
Wednesday, April 20, Janesville: Blackhawk Technical College North Commons. 6004 S Cty Road G (1-6pm)
Monday, April 25. La Crosse: UW-La Crosse Cartwright Center, Room 339. 1725 State Street (1-7pm)

Democratic legislators will also host public budget hearings at the following locations:

Monday, April 11, Racine: Gateway Technical College, RACI Great Lakes 116. 1001 S. Main Street (5-10pm)
Saturday, April 16, Green Bay: Brown County Central Library, Lower Level Theatre. 515 Pine Street (10-4pm)
Saturday, April 16, Rhinelander: Nicolet Technical College Learning Resources Building Auditorium. 5364 College Drive (10- 1pm)
Monday, April 25, Appleton: Appleton Public Library, Meeting Room A/B/C. 225 N. Oneida Street (1-7pm)
Monday, May 9, Kenosha: Gateway Technical College Auditorium. 3520 30th Avenue (10-3pm).

Budget Hearings to Begin!

Governor Walker has proposed his state budget and it is now being reviewed by the Joint Finance Committee. In order to make sure that all of Wisconsin’s young children have access to high-quality early learning experiences, we need YOU to help us send a message to the Joint Finance members letting them know how important high-quality early childhood education is.

The committee will be holding public hearings in 4 areas across the state. If you live in or near one of these sites, please consider attending the hearing and signing in support for adequate early education funding, giving a 2 minute (or less) testimonial/speech, or dropping off written comments for the committee. If you can’t stop by a hearing, but would still like to voice your opinion, you can send written comments via email to BudgetComments@legis.wisconsin.gov or via mail to: Joe Malkasian, Room 305 East, State Capitol, Madison, WI 53702.. If you’re planning to speak or provide written comments, we can send you some information to include and some general information about the hearings themselves.

Below are the hearing dates and locations. All are scheduled from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, except for the hearing in Superior, with speakers giving testimony in the order that they sign-up at the hearing:

• Thursday, April 7: Stevens Point. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Quandt Fieldhouse, 2050 Fourth Street.
CANCELED: Friday, April 8: Minong. Northwood School, Richard’s Auditorium, N14463 Highway 63.
NEW: Friday, April 8, 9am-4pm: Superior. University of Wisconsin-Superior, Wessman Arena, 2701 Catlin Avenue
• Monday, April 11: West Allis. Wisconsin State Fair Park, Expo Center Hall A, 8200 W. Greenfield Avenue.
CANCELED: Wednesday April 13: Arcadia. Arcadia High School Auditorium, 756 Raider Drive.
NEW: Wednesday April 13: Neenah. Pickard Civic Auditorium, 1275 Tullar Road.

What’s in the Governor’s 2011-13 Proposed State Budget?

Viewing Governor Walker’s state budget can be an overwhelming and confusing experience. It can be difficult to figure out where (and how much) money is being spent and what regulations are being changed. This is where the Department of Administration steps in. The DOA has posted a readable, understandable version of the budget that summarizes key information for each state department. This summary is now available online to view here.

So what exactly is in the budget for the Department of Children and Families? Here are some key findings:

YoungStar: $7,602,100 in fiscal year 2012 and $7,284,800 in fiscal year 2013 is proposed for continued funding of YoungStar, Wisconsin’s Quality Rating and Improvement System. Additional funding is proposed for the administration of YoungStar ($725,100 in year one, and $719,400 in year two).
YoungStar tiered reimbursements: The initial design for YoungStar, approved by the Joint Finance Committee in 2010, included proposed fiscal incentives to programs that met higher quality standards. The Governor’s budget includes a tiered reimbursement system, but it is proposed in a different way. Note the differences below:

• The Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program is proposed to be funded at $290 million in fiscal year 2012 and $288 million in fiscal year 2013. The 2012 proposed funding is a $112 million reduction from the current fiscal year (which was budgeted at $402 million), although the Legislative Fiscal Bureau now estimates that the actual cost of the program for this year will be closer to $296 million.
• Several cost containment measures are authorized to occur (if needed) to contain costs in the Wisconsin Shares program. These includes increasing copayments for parents, tightening eligibility, implementing a waiting list for recipients, and adjusting payment rates to child care providers.
• $3,975,000 is proposed annually for the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Wisconsin scholarship program and the R.E.W.A.R.D.™ Wisconsin stipend program (a $500,000 annual increase in funding from the 2009-2011 budget)
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies: $1,298,600 per year is budgeted for these agencies. This is neither an increase nor decrease from the previous budget.

To view the complete summary of the Department of Children and Families 2011-2013 budget click here. Keep checking our blog to find out what happens as the budget process moves forward, and how to voice your opinion on what has been proposed by the Governor.